“He really was an enchanting person. In some way he was like the spiritual father of everybody…. It is hard to imagine Central Park without Charles Kennedy.” Marie Winn, author of Red-tails in Love, and close friend of Charles, remembering him after his death in October 2004

Monday, January 18, 2010

Winter Haiku

The Denver weather for the past week has been too mild, but it is about to turn a little colder and we'll have some welcome snow.  It is winter after all!  In a typical New York winter, especially when Central Park was snow-covered, Charles would lead the bird feeder filling crews in Central Park.  Marie Winn reports that Charles was a most valuable member of the feeder filler tribe because his long wingspan was perfect for reaching high-hung feeders. And, of course, he would be freeze-framing haiku snapshots as he moved through the park on winter days.

From the gentle drifts of his winter haiku here are some Charles Kennedy gems for your pleasure, which I have arranged in chilly little sets.  Each set provides an example of how Charles worked with the conventions of classical haiku and echoed the models of the masters he admired, such as Basho and Issa.  In the first set a bird or butterfly provides the poem's delightful turn or surprise element.  The second set reflects the non-objective, non-dualistic spirituality of the masters (and Charles) as the poet encounters himself as part of the natural scene illuminated by the haiku.  Snow is the dynamic featured element of nature in the third set. And, of course, a hallmark of Charles's written work (and personality!) was whimsy; seeing and sharing delight.

winter birds and butterfly...

the afternoon sun
struggling in the winter forest  
blue jay   
the winter web
the ice the wind snow
crows bearing it

folded in bark
waiting for spring warmth
the mourning cloak  

the poet in the scene...  

looking for birds
a few winter leaves
flying to the brook

alone in the park
bits of moonlight and squirrel tracks
not much snow left

crow’s feet
on fresh snow
mine too  

staring at snow
from the pony’s back
I’m eight

slapping his hat
on his knee
snow flakes  

snow is the star... 
a tuft of snow
jumps up 
with each crow step  

finally visible

gulls swirling
with the wind hurling snow
hidden white moon

a final dust
a whisper a kiss
the last snow

winter whimsy...  

a squirrel crossing
where a crow had hopped  
new snow proves it

boy writes
his dog's name
in the snow

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